Augustus D. Juilliard was born at sea April 19, 1836 while his parents were en route to the United States from France.
Juilliard was raised, and lived in Ohio until after the Civil War. Then in 1866, he moved to New York City and went to work for a worsted fabrics manufacturer.
The company Juilliard worked for went bankrupt in 1873; soon after he created his own company which distributed textiles including wool, silk, and cotton.
Juilliard went on to become wealthy, adding to his fortune through investments in banking, insurance, and railroads.
He built a grand mansion in Tuxedo Park, New York and became a patron of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History.
Juilliard then served as President of the Metropolitan Opera from 1892 until his death.
Augustus D. Juilliard died April 25, 1919 at the age of 83.
His will included gifts to hospitals, museums and other charitable causes but the vast majority of his estate he designated for the advancement of music in the United States.
In 1920, the Juilliard Foundation was created, and by 1924, his foundation had purchased the Vanderbilt family guesthouse at 49 East 52nd Street to establish the Juilliard Graduate School in order to assist talented students with an advanced music education.
Then in 1926, the Juilliard Graduate School partially merged with the New York Institute of Musical Art, a music academy established in 1905 by Dr. Frank Damrosch.
In 1946, the combined schools were named The Juilliard School.
The president of the school at that time was William Schuman, the first winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music.
In 1951, the school added a dance division, directed by Martha Hill.
Today, the school is informally known worldwide simply as Juilliard and currently trains undergraduate and graduate students in dance, drama, and music.
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